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Developing Countries Moving Faster than Richer Nations on Global Goals

LONDON and NEW YORK - Developing countries are leaving richer nations behind in reporting their progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), says child rights organization Plan International.

Two years since the Global Goals were unanimously adopted by 193 member states of the United Nations, an alarming number of countries have not reported on their achievements so far.

As of this year, only 44 nations have voluntarily submitted progress reviews – of which more than 30 are developing countries, including nations like Afghanistan and Togo. The vast majority of advanced economies, including 14 countries in the G20, have failed to report on what they are doing to achieve the SDGs.

“The Global Goals will only succeed if all nations hold themselves to account. It is disappointing that richer countries are falling behind in their efforts, especially when some of the poorest nations in the world are showing their commitment,” said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International.

With the main promise of “leaving no one behind,” the world’s governments have committed to making sweeping development gains by 2030 to end hunger, achieve gender equality, ensure sustainable use of the planet’s resources and end preventable deaths.

The SDGs are universal, applying to all countries, with rich states having the same obligation as the developing world to make and report progress.

Plan International is leading the global call for urgent action to ensure that Goal 5, gender equality, is achieved.

“Millions of girls run the risk of being left behind in the generational cycle of abuse and poverty if the promise of gender equality is not delivered,” said Ms. Albrectsen.

The High Level Political Forum – a platform created by the United Nations for follow-up and review of the SDGs, is holding its annual meeting in New York from July 10-19. It will review the progress on gender equality, among other goals.

“Despite the progress made in recent decades, girls’ rights remain one of the most urgent human rights issues of our times. Nations must act now and show what they are doing to transform the lives of millions of girls,” said Ms. Albrectsen.

The Agenda 2030 for SDGs requires the closing of gender gaps in education, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene. It requires an end to violations of girls’ rights in areas such as sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, and harmful practices including child, early, and forced marriage.

As part of its new global strategy – 100 Million Reasons, Plan International is building a movement for girls’ rights that will push for far-reaching policy change, strengthened laws and transformative change at community levels.

The organization will work alongside girls and boys, with communities, governments, civil society, international agencies and the private sector, to deliver on the ambition of the SDGs for true gender equality.

About Plan International USA

Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Plan believes in the power and potential of every child. Working together with children, young people, supporters, and partners, Plan strives for a just world, tackling the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children. For more information, please visit

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